Ortega Mountain Ranch


Ivy came to the ranch as a boarder along with Silent. She was a fat little pony who had been fed the stuff that ponies shouldn’t eat. By the look of her dished and misshapen front hooves, it was obvious that at some point in her life, she had foundered. No doubt, since she was an overweight crested-neck metabolic disaster looking for a place to happen.

Ivy was a jumper, and she had won many competitions in her class. She had lived her entire life from stall to arena and back again. When her owners decided to sell her I worried about what would happen to her. I really liked Ivy, and she had IMG_792_2become one of my favorites at the ranch. She was the smartest horse on the ranch and she had plenty of sass, but she was also very sweet. I could tell that she had been abused during her life and she had the emotional scars to prove it.

So in the early summer of 2007, we adopted her (along with Silent). Kinda crazy, because what were two adults going to do with a pony? Kent and I are both tall so we’d look pretty silly riding a pony…but Ivy stole our hearts and I knew that she needed to have a forever home with us.

Ivy’s feet were a mess, she had weight problems, and she had attitude problems. Since she had never been out of an arena, everything on the other side of the corral fence frightened her. We put her on a proper diet, feeding her the low glycemic low protein hays that she thrives on. We tailored a wellness program for her weight, metabolic issues, and emotional scars. She was given a series of homeopathic remedies and vitamins/minerals to help her metabolic problems. We also gave her flower essences for her emotional issues. As is always the case with the right remedies, she responded quickly and dramatically to the program. We also gave her a proper barefoot trim on a 3 to 5-week trim schedule to rehabilitate her feet. Since I now trim all my horses’ feet, I pretty much keep to the 3-week trim schedule.

We started taking her out of the corral and riding her around the ranch. At first, she was reactive and frightened of everything, but before our eyes, she has morphed into a savvy little trail horse. She can pick her way through the rocks, erosion gullies, and rough terrain (barefoot, of course!) with the best of them, and nothing intimidates her. She does whatever we ask of her. And I love to ride her. She is stocky and strong and can carry my 145 lbs easily. We ride her bareback with either a rope halter or a bitless bridle. She has smooth, comfortable gaits, a fast walk (she has to walk fast to keep up with the big horses) and she is a joy.


Being the smartest horse on the ranch, it was natural for her to be the Alpha Mare in our little herd. When Scribbles first arrived in the group his bully nature caught Ivy by surprise (I think she was smitten by the tall, handsome stranger and didn’t see it coming!) and he pushed her off the top rung of the ladder. Ivy resented this and she plotted revenge. While initially she appeared to accept her new position, after a couple of months as a follower she saw her chance and she took back her rightful place with vengeance. It was quite a sight to see. She turned the table on Scribbles—he didn’t see it coming. Ivy triumphed as the herd leader again, and she remains in that position to this day. She’s the boss.


If you have any questions, please reach out to us at ortegamtnranch@cox.net